Wimbledon 2 v Notts County 1
Two goals in the last five minutes turned the game on its head as Wimbledon came from behind to beat Notts County 2-1 at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (19 September).
The Dons were trailing to Haydn Hollis’s goal when Dannie Bulman and Bayo Akinfenwa struck to earn the points for Neal Ardley’s side.
‘They [Notts County] were trying to come away with a classic 1-0 away win,’ Ardley commented on the club’s official website afterwards. ‘On another day it might have worked but we got fresh legs on and it turned for us.
‘It was a performance of real character, if not quality.’
Wimbledon twice went close in the opening exchanges, with Akinfenwa heading straight at Roy Carroll following a George Francomb cross, then Francomb himself going close with a free-kick.
But the Dons fell behind with a little over quarter of an hour gone. A free kick from deep was pumped into the Wimbledon box and Hollis beat his marker to produce a looping header that went over the stranded James Shea.
Akinfenwa again headed straight at Carroll with a thumping effort, and on the stroke of half-time the Dons almost got lucky when Francomb’s cross narrowly evaded Paul Robinson and the unsighted Carroll was able to palm the effort round his post.
Things failed to get going for the Dons after the interval, prompting Ardley to introduce Sean Rigg for the well-marshalled Andy Barcham and Adebayo Azeez for the Tom Elliott. But even that seemed destined not to give the Dons any reward – until those dramatic final five minutes.
First it was Bulman’s turn, ghosting in unmarked at the far post to convert after Rigg flicked on Francomb’s cross.
Azeez contrived to miss a glorious chance when he galloped into the area only to fire tamely at Carroll when team-mates were well placed in a more central position, but his role in the winner was crucial.
Penned into the corner, Azeez managed to wriggle his way clear to produce a near-post cross that Akinfenwa threw his considerable bulk at, diving to head home and complete the turnaround.
The Dons travel to Luton Town next weekend (26 September) in a match that is all-ticket for visiting fans, before entertaining Northampton Town the following Tuesday.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Nightingale (Osborne 35), Robinson, Meades, Francomb, Reeves, Bulman, Barcham (Rigg 57), Akinfenwa, Elliott (Azeez 61). Subs not used: Beere, Pilbeam, McDonnel, Kaja.
Goalscorers: Bulman 85, Akinfenwa 90.
Booked: Reeves 27, Fuller 79, Francomb 88.
Notts County: Carroll, Amevor, Swerts, Hollis, Audel, Snijders (Jenner 89), Aborah, Burke (Spencer 90), Campbell (Noble 65), Stead, McLeod. Subs not used: Smith, Loach, Thompson, Edwards.
Goalscorer: Hollis 16.
Booked: Amevor 11, Swerts 45, Snijders 68, Burke 82.